Yandex chose the Bynet Week conference in the city of Minsk in Belarus to announce that they have “Started to remove links gradually” from the Yandex MatrixNet algorithm for commercial queries in just the Moscow region. Alexander Sadovsky, Head of Web Search at Yandex, made the announcement yesterday following on from his original explanation in December.
Alexander Sadovsky explained to me when I interviewed him last year that Yandex has seen an increasingly diminished value in the signal derived from inbound links to the point where it was not adding to the quality of Yandex results. This is especially true for searches relating to the Moscow region which has an overwhelming economic importance within the Russian Federation which has a number of large cities but none as large as Moscow with its 11.5 million population making it larger than New York City.
The current reduction in the scoring of links applies initially to the following verticals:
However, Yandex has confirmed that additional verticals are in their sights including:
Yandex has also re-confirmed that once this approach has been established in Moscow, it will be progressively rolled out to other regions of the Russian Federation.
Since everyone is used to expecting successful search engines to have a strong link dependency, the question arises of what data will be used to replace links? Yandex says that the way that humans interact with websites will be measured and used to influence Yandex rankings, meaning that websites need traffic to generate a positive result in terms of ranking.
According to Live.Internet.ru, Yandex continues to hold on to its leadership with approximately 62% query share within the Russian Federation.